Emotional Flexibility

And there goes another one. My second in about three years.

I was just starting my shift yesterday morning when my most hated part of my nursing profession happened again. A patient died.

I have been taking care of him for the last two shifts and I was just about to see him that morning when the outgoing night nurse called a code. He did not make it and eventually I had to do his postmortem care later on. My last nursing care for him.

It hurts when your patient leaves you like that. I try to regard my patients as like a family member but when things like these happen, it would also be like losing a loved one. I know I have to get used to it because I am a nurse, but I think it will still take some time.

The next parts of the shift would be taking care of my other alive patients. I tried to pretend to my patients that I was okay. I had to pretend that I am very enthusiastic for the day. I had to show my other patients that the world looks brighter. No mention about the major incident earlier. Who would like to hear as a patient that one patient next door just passed away?

The patient next door was actually one of the most aprreciative patients I had in my life. He was getting well and he was very happy about his recovery. He was about to be discharged the following day. I took care of him like nothing major happened on the next door. He mentioned about me always smiling  as soon as I open the door, and that it helped him a lot when the people around him are as determined and enthusiasic about his recovery.

And I realized how nurses could affect a patient’s emotion, and eventually his determination to get well. If I had shown sadness in another patient’s room, I could have influenced another person to feel sad too. But I chose to  forget sadness and grief,  and be the usual happy nurse that I am, and that I should say, made my other patients to be more optimistic about their health.

Nurses need to be flexible with their emotions. It would take a lot of getting used to, but I know I will eventually get there.

(picture credits: bidmc.org, kltcpharmacy.com)


An old article of mine “And My Patient Just Died…” which was posted on this site last February 2010, was published today at the Filipino Nurses blog site. The site has Facebook links and has about 153k FB members as of this time.

I enjoy reading the comments, so keep them coming!

Here are the links to the post:

For the reposting at the Filipino Nurses blog site, click HERE.

For the Facebook link via Graffitti, click HERE.

For the Facebook repost on my profile, click HERE.

For the original post on this site, click HERE.


7 Responses to “Emotional Flexibility”

  1. 1 Clarafied
    September 25, 2010 at 6:26 am

    I think in the healthcare profession, these is the most difficult part. I am not in the field but had my share when I was enrolled in a caregiver training course. And it could really get difficult.

    I wish that by the time I get old, there would be more nurses like you. I am very particular about how young people treat old people. I would say that “I don’t mind if it’s just me, but we’re talking about my dad here” on situations that the younger generations attitude lack respect. I hope that when my time comes as a senior citizen, healthcare people will be just like you – not afraid to give his emotional attachment, knowing that almost everything in this world is temporary.


  2. 2 digitalcatharsis
    September 25, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hi CLARAFIELD, thanks for visiting my site. It’s really inevitable to feel attached to patients at times, but I still wish for nurses to be more attached to their patients, coz only then that we are able to actually LISTEN and care for them. Have good day and I hope you visit again.


  3. June 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    I know how you feel about it. Its not easy but you need to be flexible para hindi ma apektuhan ang work mo. haaaayz… pero nakakalungkot talaga isipin pag wala na 😦


  4. June 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

    tama…parang yun yung sinasabi na walang karapatan ang isang nurse na maging sad sa harap ng pasyente nila..dapt laging happy at positive..ang pangit naman siguro mag kwneto ka about patay if may dying pasyente ka di ba..


  5. June 24, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Sometimes we have to be aware of our feelings towards death. I personally can’t stand death, especially when a patient I was assigned to before died. What is really sad is that the patient was so happy, and kept on sharing stories. Before the end of the shift, a code was called. She was cheerful pala because she was expecting this.

    I don’t know how I’ll manage in the real world, but I think I;ll get used to this.


  6. 7 kat
    June 27, 2011 at 5:22 am

    oo nga no? parang ang hirap yata pag namatay ang patient mo…anyway, siguro naman ngayon, you were used to it, i hope, kasi ikaw naman ang magkakasakit nyan sa puso if lagi mong dibdibin yang mga patients mo.


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Health posts here are the author's opinion and should not be taken as professional advice. It is still best to consult your physician. Posts in this site protect patient confidentiality, so if you have any concerns regarding any of the nursing posts, please send me a message and I will be happy to address them.

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